Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

4 Stars

“I knew how to die. It was the living that scared me.” 

At a time when cancer stories have become nearly cliché in young adult romance stories, Julie Murphy comes up with a new spin on things. Everything was going great for Alice. She was surviving her freshman year in high school, was the best ballet student in her class, had landed a popular boyfriend . . . but then she saw something that she couldn’t unsee, found out Mr. Perfect was cheating on her with her arch nemesis and as a cherry on the shit sundae she was diagnosed with leukemia. When the chemo stops working and she is faced with the reality that she is going to die, Alice creates a “Just Dying To-Do List” and enlists the help of her former BFF Harvey. The one thing Alice wasn’t prepared for after getting her revenge??? Remission.

It should go without saying that I am an old lady who really digs reading young adult stories. At this point it’s probably safe to officially declare my love for Julie Murphy as well, so let me count the ways:

1. I may love her so much that I subconsciously single-white femaled her because I pulled up her author page and realized I just cut and colored my hair so now we kind of look alike;

2. I love that she writes stories that make me feel like a kid even though I’m an old lady, and I’m really impressed that she makes me feel feelings . . . . .

3. I love that she makes me want to read her stuff simply due to the titles;

4. I love that I loved the first book I read by her (Dumplin’) so much I am interested in reading its sequel and I hardly ever read a sequel . . . .

5. I love that I didn’t know Side Effects May Vary was by the author of Dumplin’, but when I started reading it, I was all like “I KNOW I have read this author before;”

6. I love that Alice was an asshole. Like right away you find out Alice has never watched/ends up hating A Christmas Story so you know she’s going to be awful, and the more you read the more it becomes clear that Alice was an asshole waaaaaaaay before almost dying. That’s real life, though. People – especially hormonal teens – sometimes ARE assholes. I’m tired of reading about perfect “John Greeny” types of adolescents and was happy to suffer through Alice’s most cringey behavior in hopes of her getting a redemption arc at the end so I could be all . . . . .

7. I love that this was a debut novel. Good grief this chick writes readable stuff;

8. I love that this was a different kind of love story . . . .

“I love you. And you know what the feels like? It’s like a fucking cheese grater against my heart.”

9. I love that I read this thing cover-to-cover in a couple of hours because I could not get enough.

In case you can’t tell – it’s A-Okay if none of you love this. I loved it enough for everyone . . . . .


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